Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Synopsis: Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
Why did I pick it up?: The cover is gorgeous and the synopsis pulled me in.
Favorite Line: "Life is much different from the days when there were lilies in my mother's garden and all my secrets fit into a paper cup."
My Review: In my opinion, Wither is a kind of modern Handmaid's Tale. The similarities begin when Rhine first inspects her room and notes the windows won't open, and the too small for escape laundry shoot. The story is beautifully written and disturbingly easy to fall into.
The world Rhine lives in was created after disease was eradicated. The first generation of healthy children, free of all health concerns from allergies to cancer, still thrives but their children cannot live past the age of 25 for males and 20 for females. This leaves the world overrun with orphans.
Unlike The Handmaid's Tale however, Rhine's husband, Linden really does love her. He is oblivious to what happens in his mansion where his father Vaughn is lord and master. He is a pawn of his father's just as Rhine and her sister wives are pawns.
Rhine struggles with her growing affection for her Linden, Gabriel and her sister wives while planning her escape to find her twin brother. I struggled with her, not wanting her to hurt or abandon any of the characters because I sympathized with all of them.
The sequel, FEVER, will be out February 2012.
Recommendation: A Dystopian Must-Read
Next Week: TBD